1902 Encyclopedia > Railway, Railways (Railroad) > Railway Carriages/Waggons: Lighting; Intercommunication Signals.

Railway, Railways
(Part 39)


Railway Carriages/Waggons: Lighting; Intercommunication Signals.

Lighting of Carriages

The North London Railway Company, it is believed, were the first to use gas instead of oil for lighting carriage stock. Thirty gas-lights in a train are supplied from two reservoirs or gasholders in the brake-vans, which hold 200 cubic feet of ordinary coal-gas, supplied from the mains,—enough to serve the train for from two hours to two and a half hours. The gas is conducted by pipes over the roofs of the carriages, with a branch to each compartment. Ordinary coal-gas has also been used on the metropolitan railways. Pintsh’s system of lighting carriages by compressed oil-gas is extensively in use on Continental railways, where it has been in operation for upwards of ten years. In 1876-77 the system was tried successfully on the Metropolitan Railway, when it appeared that 1000 cubic feet of the compressed gas could do the work of 6500 cubic feet of coal-gas, at a cost of scarcely one farthing per burner per hour, against one-third of a penny for coal-gas lamps, and from 1/2d. to 3/4d. for oil-lamps. The gas is distilled from cheap oils, as the waste-products from the manufacture of paraffin, soft lignite, or shale. The gas is pumped from the gasholder into reservoirs, in which it is compressed to about one-tenth of its ordinary volume. From these it is drawn off into a reservoir stowed under each carriage at a pressure of six atmospheres, or 90 lb per square inch. The Pintsch system is in use on railways in England and Scotland on nearly 3000 vehicles, and is being extended to other stock; the number of vehicles thus lighted in all the railways of Europe is about 18,000. Besides, the system is employed for the head-lights of locomotives.

Intercommunication Signals

Intercommunication signals for railway trains are provided between driver and guard, driver and passengers, or passengers and guard. Electric means of communication have been proposed and tried, but mechanical appliances are most commonly employed. There is the ordinary guard’s cord, extending along the train outside, placed so as to be accessible from the window; then there are the same cord, with an attachment coming inside the window, the English cord, connected with a bell in the driving cab, a line inside the carriage connected with the steam-whistle, and so on. The acoustic signals appear to belong to the last type; but none of these systems is comparable with the through middle passage of the American cars already noticed.

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